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Old Kaladesh MTG card sees mystery 400% price spike

We put our sleuthing hats on to uncover the cause of a sudden 400% price spike for the Animation Module Magic: The Gathering card.

MTG card spike - Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering card, Animation Module

Animation Module, an MTG card from 2016’s Kaladesh Magic: The Gathering set, has seen a speedy price increase on secondary trading card game markets. Between January 17 and 19, its price rose 400% on MTGGoldfish, from $1 to $5 (£0.79 to £3.94). Its value similarly soared from $0.94 to $3.60 (£0.74 to £2.84) on TCGPlayer – a 283% increase.

Animation Module costs just one colorless mana to play, and anytime one or more +1/+1 counters are placed on a permanent under your control, you can choose to pay one more mana. Doing so creates a 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature token.

MTG card spike - Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering card, Animation Module

Alternatively, once it’s in play, you can tap the card and pay three colorless mana to give a permanent or player one counter of a type it already has. Basically, it’s baby’s first Proliferate (a keyword the design team opted to keep out of the Kaladesh MTG set at the time).

You’ll see Animation Module played in a number of MTG Modern and MTG Commander decks, and it’s featured in some fun infinite combos in the past (see the video below).

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The direct cause of the price spike was something of a mystery. And when we think of mysteries, we turn to Murders at Karlov Manor.

Recent Murders at Karlov Manor spoilers have led to new speculation about Animation Module’s combo capabilities. In particular, discussion has focused on the Kaladesh card’s synergy with Crime Novelist.

Whenever you sacrifice an artifact, Crime Novelist gets a +1/+1 counter and creates one red mana. These two cards alone don’t make an infinite combo, but with a sacrifice outlet, it’s possible to create a loop of counter creation.

MTG card spike - Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering card, Crime Novelist

The above video proves that three-card-combos for Animation Module aren’t exactly new. However, 46,000 people saw one Tweet about Animation Module and Crime Novelist’s potential. And there’s only one printing of the rare Kaladesh MTG card, so supplies are low.

If enough people bought in based on this analysis, scarcity could well drive up the price of the card. We’d call that case closed, Watson.

For more on upcoming sets, here’s all we know about the MTG release schedule for 2024. Or, for digital trading card game fans, here’s the latest on MTG Arena decks and MTG Arena codes.